Seventeen people were killed in the horrific road accident on Mohammad Bin Zayed Road in Dubai last week. Image Credit: Dubai Police

Dubai: The driver of a bus that crashed in Dubai earlier this month, killing 17 passengers, was speeding and didn’t follow signboards, an official said on Wednesday.

Thirteen other passengers were also injured in the accident that occurred at 5.40pm on June 6 when the Muscat-to-Dubai Mwasalat bus service struck an overhead height barrier at 94km/h on the turn off from Mohammad Bin Zayed Road leading onto Rashidiya Road where it was due to make a scheduled stop at Rashidiya Metro.

The driver had a blind down obstructing his view, according to earlier police reports, and took a wrong turn left not designated for buses which led to the height restriction, instead of going right.

The 53-year-old Omani driver was referred to the Traffic Court over charges of causing wrongful death to 17 passengers and injuring 13 others, said Prosecutor Salah Bu Farousha Al Felasi, director of Traffic Prosecution.

“Prosecution accused the driver of causing death and injuries to the passengers,” Al Felasi said in a statement. “The punishment could reach seven years and a fine. He may also have to pay Dh3.4 million in blood money for families of the victims.”

Dubai’s Attorney General Eissam Eissa Al Humaidan, and a team of prosecutors headed by Assistant Chief Prosecutor Rashid Al Shamsi, and prosecutor Abdullah Al Suwaidi, went to the accident scene to conduct an investigation and held the driver in custody.

“There were two lanes for buses and taxis in the four-lane road leading to the entrance of Al Rashidiya Metro station. There were flashing light signboards about 342-metres from the accident location about the height restriction and speed bumps. There were also two other big signboards to warn the drivers to stay in their lanes before the height barrier,” added Al Felasi.

He said the speed limit was 40km/h but the technical report confirmed that the driver was speeding at 94km/h when the accident happened.

“He admitted that he didn’t follow the signboards and drove at a high speed despite having used the road several times before the accident. He crashed against the first small height barrier and then into the second height barrier on the left side of the bus which killed 15 passengers immediately.”

Prosecutor Al Felasi said the bus stopped 44 meters away from the impact point.

The bus crashed into the height barrier, which slashed the rear window, cut into the left side of the bus and killed passengers sitting on that side. The impact of the crash on passengers sitting on the left side of the bus led to them being smashed against the metal barrier. The driver also suffered minor injuries.

The nationalities of the deceased are 12 Indian, two Pakistani, an Irish, an Omani and a Filipina.

Prosecutor Al Felasi offered his condolences to the victims’ families and wished a speed recovery to the injured passengers.

He urged drivers to follow traffic instructions and be extra cautious while driving to keep the roads safe.